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Or: "The Return of the Useful Idiot"
These comments from Saddam-era Iraqi army "strongman" Colonel Watban Jassam should be displayed above the masthead of any American newspaper and noted at the outset of any broadcast news program. They aren't, so we'll take every opportunity we can to repeat them here:
Tips On How To Beat US From Insurgents' ConsultantNow today the Los Angeles Times looks at the new Iraq, where a post-Saddam free press has led to interesting opportunities for some of Jassam's media-savvy customers:
To gauge US public opinion, he has become an avid watcher of satellite news channels, and never misses the White House press briefings
To win the war against the US military and Badr, Colonel Jassam advises the Omariyun to follow two short-term goals - to cement mujahideen control over the Ramadi area, and to stage operations that will increase pressure on US opinion to withdraw troops.
To achieve their second goal, turning Americans against the war, the mujahideen need to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west", he says.
Away from the Green Zone, others have been busy plotting their media strategies as well. The conservative Sunni Muslim Scholars Assn. has turned one wing of Baghdad's largest mosque into a fully staffed media center with an auditorium for news conferences. Even the insurgents have developed a sophisticated Internet campaign, producing newsletters, news releases and downloadable video of their attacks.If only that advice to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west" meant just a sophisticated Internet campaign, producing newsletters and news releases - but it doesn't. It's the death and destruction that can be seen on the "downloadable video of their attacks" that Jassam was calling for.
And that anti- war sentiment in the west is responding to the call. The Washington Times takes a look at who's who in this weekend's anti-war rally in Washington DC:
United for Peace and Justice (UPJ) and International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) are the two main organizers of the weekend of events -- the first major public protest allowed to surround the White House in more than 10 years -- and expect 100,000 people from dozens of smaller left-wing and liberal organizations.The Times' report describes the various groups in more detail:
The leaders of ANSWER, founded three days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, are connected to the Workers World Party, a Marxist group that has expressed support for such dictators as North Korea's Kim Jong-il, Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. The latter two have been ousted from power and jailed.It's imperative, of course, that those particular data points aren't the topic of any coverage of this weekend's events - likewise the organizers would prefer to downplay the discord among the various groups with varying messages, agendas, and degrees of hatred for America. The Boston Globe:
Other groups associated with ANSWER are the Free Palestine Alliance, U.S.-Mexico Solidarity Foundation and the Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada.
UPJ, founded by liberals who say they were concerned about the radical tactics and smorgasbord of issues trumpeted by ANSWER, says it organized the "S24," or Saturday (Sept. 24) protest first, but Mr. Dobbs said there's "a big overlap" between the protests and "the major point is that we're in D.C. to stop the war in Iraq."
Among the nearly 1,000 groups in the UPJ coalition are Punks for Peace, Queer to the Left, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and Historians Against the War.
John J. Tierney, a scholar at the Institute of World Politics and author of "The Politics of Peace: What's Behind the Anti-War Movement?" said the core of the protesters are "ideologically very hard-core left" and that their agenda goes far beyond merely protesting the Iraq war.
"They're not anti-war. They are anti-West, anti-capitalism and anti-American political culture," Mr. Tierney said. "You see the speeches, the flags, the posters, the speakers and the pamphlets cover a whole host of revolutionary causes, literally everywhere."
At a moment when the groups say they are steadily gaining support, each faction asserts the other's message is undermining their common cause.So the spin machines for the various organizations are in overdrive, demonstrating that even the most media-savvy terrorist organization in Iraq still has plenty to learn. More from the Globe:
In a public statement last month, the Green Party of the United States accused Moveon.org of having ''undermined such [antiwar] efforts by refusing to endorse an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq."
Green Party spokesman Scott McLarty explained that his faction believes Moveon.org is giving cover to Democrats who have criticized the war but have not supported proposals to cut off funding.
''The more we prolong the occupation, the more dead American soldiers and the more dead Iraqi civilians there will be," McLarty said. ''It's going to be a disaster whether we stay there or whether we don't stay there. And by staying there, we are aggravating the disaster."
Tom Matzzie, Washington director for Moveon.org, agreed that the United States should leave Iraq as soon as possible, but argued that the quickest way to end the war is to build support in Congress for a specific date to remove the troops.
''As political organizers, we think the best way to bring our folks home from Iraq is to create a political dynamic where Republicans are defecting from their leadership and Democrats are making Iraq a political liability for the Republicans," Matzzie said.
The internal discord poses a threat to the coalition just as its leaders believe it is on the cusp of becoming a force in mainstream politics.
But even though anyone opposed to Bush's Iraq policy is welcome to join the protests, the organizers say, their focus will be an immediate withdrawal.The Washington Post also notes the unification efforts:
''There is a loud cry, which is getting louder from the grass roots, to end this war and bring the troops home now," said Bill Dobbs of United for Peace and Justice.
The Mobilization for Global Justice plans a small protest against the IMF and World Bank, which are holding meetings this weekend in the District. But for the most part, all the groups the antiwar events have put the rest of their agendas on hold this weekend.Is it working? Let's review some key quotes that we highlighted above:
That strategy coincides with the mounting number of U.S. deaths in Iraq and slipping support for Bush's Iraq policies in polls.
In recent weeks, Bill Dobbs, media coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, has sometimes cut off speakers at news conferences when they began a passionate discussion of how war is connected to global and local oppression.
Spreading out his long arms, he speaks the message he wants everyone to repeat: "End the war in Iraq. Bring them home now."
"That is the really important message at the moment," he said. "To turn out the maximum number of people, we need the simplest and clearest message."
"That strategy coincides with the mounting number of U.S. deaths in Iraq"
"Even the insurgents have developed a sophisticated Internet campaign, producing newsletters, news releases and downloadable video of their attacks."
"To achieve their second goal, turning Americans against the war, the mujahideen need to shape their operations "to support anti- war sentiment in the west""
Hard to spin heavy stuff like that, but the Washington Post gives it a go in their glowing coverage of the "busloads of teachers, nurses, housewives" converging on Washington from all over America to join the heroic efforts of the "seasoned protestors":
The seasoned protesters who organized tomorrow's antiwar demonstration are well-versed in many other causes. They have marched and rallied against police brutality, racism, colonialism and the policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.Of course, Cindy Sheehan will be there too. It's unlkely that Colonel Watban Jassam will make an appearance though - he's busy working elsewhere for the cause.
But their message on the Mall tomorrow will be singular: "End the war in Iraq."
Because of that sharp focus, they will be joined by novice protesters such as Patrice Cuddy, 56. Interviewed by phone yesterday, the former public school teacher in Olathe, Kan., said she had to pull off her gardening gloves each time a neighbor interrupted her yardwork to ask about joining the bus she had chartered to go to the nation's capital.
"It's small and it's quiet here in Johnson County, but more and more people are becoming part of the group that doesn't agree with this war," said Cuddy, who was planning to load about 45 people onto the bus in a Home Depot parking lot this morning for the 20-hour ride to Washington.
Organizers say that similar busloads of teachers, nurses, housewives and others with little experience in mass protest are coming from Wisconsin, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Ohio and many other states.
"This demonstration will reflect, by far, the most diverse group of antiwar protesters since before the war began," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition, one of the event's sponsors. "We have people coming from all political persuasions, including a very large number of people who have never before been part of the antiwar movement or protest activity."
Officials with ANSWER and other sponsoring groups say they expect more than 100,000 people at the protest, which will include speeches at the Ellipse, a march around the White House and an 11-hour concert featuring Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Thievery Corporation and the Coup, among other acts. More antiwar activities will take place Sunday and Monday.
(Added for the sake of clarity: I don't believe the American groups are coordinating efforts with al Qaeda in Iraq. The groups are obviously well aware of each other though, and each in turn responds in some way to the actions of the other. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" - as a wise man once said.)
Update: Via Holly's Dawn Patrol, Daily Kos offers a must-read list of dos and donts for the protest. This is not satire - it's real advice for those planning on going. So if your grandmother is one of the thousands of school teachers from Kansas on her way to Washington this weekend be sure she gets a copy.
Update 2: Glenn Reynolds has more.
How many years does it take before you loose your "novice" status in that group?
Update 4: The WaPo story noted that "More antiwar activities will take place Sunday and Monday" - without saying exactly what those activities are. Citizen Smash has the details:
25 SEP 05 - Sunday; The above noted groups will begin a protest called "Adopt an Intersection", where members will attempt to block intersections in the area of the White House and WB/IMF, beginning as early as 0400 to disrupt the delegates movement to meetings.He says the protestors are "stuck on stupid" - I'd agree, and add that Petula Dvorak (the author of the WaPo piece) might not be the sharpest tool in the shed either.
26 SEP 05 - Monday; "Adopt an Intersection" will return in an attempt to disrupt morning rush hour traffic. Locations and exact times are not available at this time.
I did a little googling of Beatrice Cuddy and found dozens of links supporting her "novice" status, and blogged about it at http://krishl.us/spacecraft/?p=93 : Googling to Help the MSMPosted by chris hall at September 23, 2005 05:08 PM
More proof of the corruption of the press; good job, Chris!
Bring out the Hard Hats and Baseball Bats!!Posted by Annie Nomus at September 23, 2005 08:06 PM
Anyone contacted the Post to point them to the info on Patrice & to suggest they might want to print a correction to their assertion that she is a "novice protestor." It may get results unless they like being stuck on stupid.Posted by ME at September 23, 2005 08:55 PM
Government… as it pertains to the ongoing tyranny of this planets "superpowers"… a time of reflection is in order.
“But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”
The Declaration of Independence – 1776
Vive la révolution / América pode ser reborne / De nuevo al comienzo / Eine Zeit für Kraft ist nach uns
Welcome to EARTH - One World, One Future!(many Peoples